13 Aug Plus Me Up, Scotty
I’m going to write a column for you, not for me. Normally I just write on the stuff I want and you get to read over my shoulder, but in this case, it’s for you. In the Stirling Street shop mooching about for a topic, and the new Profoto B10 Plus was suggested. That’s the unit you see next to the B 10 in the heading image – the longer of the two.
I knew a little about the B10 from a launch that CE did of it a while ago – and then brushed up on the basic specs from the Profoto site.
Note: if ever you wanted to know about studio and field strobe photography, the main Profoto web site and modifiers catalogue will tell you. Be prepared to spend time, if not money, on reading the advertisement part of it, but concentrate on their careful explanation of what their reflectors, softboxes, grids and fresnels do. It is one of the best and most logical illustrated guides I’ve ever read – and has busted a few of the misconceptions about studio lighting that I’ve been running with for two decades.
At any rate, the B10 is one of the battery-powered ( Li-ion battery ) portable strobes that rivals the classic mains-powered strobe in-field use. It will put out 250w/s and is shaped to take the Profoto OCF modifiers. It has the classic barrel shape that lets you slide the modifiers up and down to further change what they do ( read that guide…). It is TTL compatible with their Air controllers. There’s a ten-stop range of illumination. It can be controlled with Bluetooth and your mobile phone to a degree that is amazing – up to and including previewing the scene’s lighting with the phone’s camera. Three flashes can be run from one phone.
This ain’t flashbulbs in a garbage can lid and a mile of wire, Winston…
The basic power of the B10 is enough to overpower the sun in outdoor shoots. The advantage of the B10 Plus is an increase in output power to 500 w/s and an increase in the modifier range down the side of the barrel. The same battery pack slot in there – if you have them for the B10, just carry right on. Of course, if you fire full power, you’ll get fewer shots per charge and it might take a smidgeon more time to recharge – but we are still talking about a performance far and away better than that of a small Speedlight.
Why is this write-up for you and not for me? Because I already have a mains studio setup and several battery-powered speed lights for the field. The equipment cabinet is full and the coffers are not. Were it the other way around, and did I want to start a system that would service all the conceivable studio and field flash needs from one basis, I would save up for Profoto. It just makes economic and technical sense.
Oh, and just in case you think you’ve heard of the B10 before, here’s a picture of the Martin B-10. And you thought back seat driving was a new problem…